The Ministry of Education has published information confirming it has reached agreement with NZEI Te Riu Roa to settle the pay equity claim for school administration support staff.
11,000 school administration support staff, predominantly women, will receive new pay equity rates ranging from $22.75 to $55.62 per hour effective from August 20, 2021, once the first round of funding is delivered to schools via an operational grant in October this year.
Admin support staff who return to work for six months after taking parental leave will also receive a lump sum equal to six weeks’ pay, and a new graded work matrix has been developed to better assess the pay rate that an admin support staff employee should be on.
Immediate actions required by schools and kura
According to the Ministry, schools must take several actions in Term 3 to ensure their employees have up-to-date job descriptions, payroll information, and where to place new employees on the newly introduced work matrix.
There are also new templates for employment offer letters that schools will need to use, and a procedure for regrading employees based on the new work matrix.
All required actions and more are listed on documents provided by the Ministry, accessible using the below link, and the Ministry has provided a timeline of when resources will be made available to help schools and kura follow the new roadmap.
As such, the full rundown of what is required from schools and Kura going forward has been made available via the Ministry of Education website here: https://www.education.govt.nz/school/people-and-employment/pay-equity/administration/
According to the Ministry, following the school holidays, NZEI Te Riu Roa, the Ministry, and NZSTA will release guidelines to help schools and kura act upon the changes resulting from this settlement:
“The guidance includes information on the ongoing funding from the Ministry, the new work matrix, pay rate translations and regrading information” and “will be released on this page from the beginning of Term 3, and no actions are required of schools and kura until this time”.
A series of webinars with NZSTA and NZEI Te Riu Roa will also become availabe in Term 3 to take schools and kura through the changes and steps to implement the settlement.
The settlement also includes a commitment to improving professional learning and development and systems of funding school administrators.
Administrators do essential work in schools, they are the face of the school for parents, provide support at all levels and are the glue that holds the operation of the school together. This claim covers administrative work in finance, human resources and the front office, as well as principal executive assistants, board secretaries, and co-ordinators including sports, homestay, and gateway
South Auckland school administrator and pay equity negotiation team member Julie-Anne Roberts was heartened that people now entering the profession would know that the work they contribute is valued.
“School administrators constantly go above and beyond and that’s been even more the case since the pandemic began. We work alongside our community, interact with students, parents, and staff, coming up with unique solutions for our school. Many of us are making do on part-time or term-time only hours,” says Mrs Roberts.
NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Liam Rutherford says this is a life-changing win for the 11,000 school administrators across Aotearoa and was only achieved because union members supported and pursued the claim.
“The evidence uncovered during the investigation was stark but proved what we already knew – the work of school administrators has been undervalued for a long time because it’s a female-dominated workforce,” says Mr Rutherford.
“The pay equity process is fundamental in putting that right. School administrators have waited a long time for this moment. This is another step towards ensuring all women in the education sector are fairly paid for the mahi they do.”